Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Tuesday Miscellaneous (Doesn't Sound as Good as Monday, but It's Tuesday)
07/20/2010 - James WhiteFirst, I've been hearing from a number of sources that Ergun Caner's name has disappeared from the Fall teaching schedule at Liberty. This seems to lend a fair amount of support to the supposition that the year "teaching" contract was nothing more than "Here, take a year to look for another position." Those who have been running about yelling "Exonerated!" might wish to consider what it would really mean if Caner is not teaching at Liberty in the Fall. It will be interesting to watch this situation and see what develops. If, in fact, Caner does not teach, and "finds another calling" for next year, it would be hard to avoid the conclusion that Liberty's action was thoroughly political and intended to make it easier for him to get a position elsewhere "once this dies down." In other words, about as unbiblical an approach as could be taken to a serious situation involving a total breach of trust in the pulpit and in the classroom.
Phil Johnson noted this article from BioLogos that caught my attention. The article speaks of the "consensus" that exists amongst scientists regarding evolution (whatever type of that particular theory they might be referring to), and concludes with these words:
A scientific consensus represents a hard-won victory over every imaginable sort of opposition. We should not set aside such consensus just because a tiny group of articulate outsiders offer us some ideas that we might like better. The ID movement has people with Ph.D.s to be sure. And a few of them have conventional scientific posts. But their pleas that we set aside scientific consensus must be ignored.
If the true nature of BioLogos had not been obvious before now, it should be. I had a brief discussion with someone via Twitter about the comment I made regarding Phil's citing of this article. I wrote, "BioLogos: Intellectuals in love with the world's wisdom, ashamed of the Lordship of Christ, ignoring the evidence of Creation. Sad." Nobody mentioned Peter Enns in response, but someone did mention Bruce Waltke. Evidently the thinking is, "A group's actions represent every single individual associated therewith, and hence all comments about the group as a whole can be immediately applied to each individual." I do not know what Bruce Waltke thinks about that article. I only paid cursory attention to the dispute that broke out when he indicated that rejecting evolutionary theory puts us in danger of becoming cultic. I have fought that battle far too long to invest much effort worrying about those who have obviously not taken the time to seriously consider the glaring, obvious, "right in front of your eyes if you would but open them" evidence of the designed nature of the universe around us, and even more so, within us. I learned from the lectures of evolutionists that life is not the result of random chance acting without teleological direction over vast amounts of time. (In fact, ironically, I ended up talking about that during the adult Bible Study class this past Sunday, found here).
The progress in our knowledge of the irreducible complexity of life has rendered us truly "without excuse" when it comes to our attributing to the natural order that which God reserves for himself. Any person who can look at the mechanics of the cell, realize the order, the information, the complexity that makes any computer you are using to read this post look like a stick and a rock in comparison, and yet continue in the suppression of the God-instilled knowledge of His own existence is a person remaining in utter rebellion. And the "believer," granting that such men and women exist who themselves suffer from a great inconsistency in their theology and their faith on the matter, who flinches at the Lordship of Christ in all areas of life and knowledge (including the world's inner sanctum of religious dedication, the temple of "science"), only aid and abet the world in its continued rebellion. That is what BioLogos is all about, aiding the world in its rebellion, and salving the conscience of the professing Christian who finds the radical claims of Christ's creatorship and lordship in all things just a bit too much. We all know you will never get anywhere in the world's eyes if you do not buy into the holy grail of their dogma, the heart of their worldview, evolutionary theory. And so the pressure is great, to be sure. But that is no excuse. If Bruce Waltke (to return to the inquiry made on Twitter) has given in to that pressure, so much the worse for brother Waltke. You can respect his scholarship in other areas. He's not a scientist. I do not know if he has any level of training at all in the fields of genetics or cellular biology, biochemistry, etc. But what I do know is that the article noted above at BioLogos is a classic example of "accommodating Scripture and the faith to an external authority," in this case, an alleged scientific consensus. I say alleged because we all know (well, the honest amongst us know) that this consensus is artificial on almost every level. But the fact is it is a consensus that is not based upon the Lordship of Christ, but upon a very secular worldview. Whether a believer might join in this consensus in no way changes the basis of the consensus---such only shows the believer is inconsistent in his worldview and in its application to key, foundational issues.
Next, the debate with Father Peter Stravinskas has been scrubbed, and another debater, Roman Catholic attorney Christopher Ferrara, has stepped in, so there will still be a debate on August 28th in New York. I hope to have the details soon. I am disappointed that Stravinskas decided he would not debate. He had alleged that I had "packed" the audience with my "cronies" in our first debate (utterly untrue), and that I had turned a discussion into an all out war. In reality, I had studied his position thoroughly, and he had not read a word I said about the subject. When you come into a debate quoting your discussions with Jimmy Swaggart when you are debating a Reformed proponent, well, you are begging for trouble. The result was predictable. But Stravinskas went further, claiming to be offended that I had posted clips of the debate on YouTube "without context." Of course, we have made the entire debate available in audio and video formats for about nine years. We attempted to give Stravinskas a copy the night of the debate, but, he was more than just a little bit in a rush to get out of there as quickly as possible. I have posted three clips from that debate on YouTube. Two of them are from the cross-examination period. They run more than seven minutes in length. That is plenty of context. So, the only thing he could be complaining about was the posting of a single audience question, which runs 1:42. Again, as far as sound bites/clips go, 1:42 is an eternity. Here is the clip:
But the fact of the matter is, I provided the entirety of the audience question: the question itself, Stravinskas' response, and my response as well. The only way to provide more context would be to not post any clips at all, and, of course, that is what Stravinskas wanted.
So, I offered to send Stravinskas his own unedited masters of the 2001 debate (something we do by contract now---remember, we started using a contract right after that debate due to the fact that Barry Lynn tried to suppress the tapes of our debate that took place during that same time period). I offered to again provide, at no cost to him, an unedited master of whatever debate we would do on Long Island in August, with full rights to post as he sees fit. What I would not do was give him what he had demanded. He demanded the right to determine what could, and could not, be posted on YouTube. No opponent has ever demanded such veto power before, and when I disagreed, he pulled the plug, instantly, without discussion. So, for those who wanted to see a further debate with Peter Stravinskas, you now know why you won't. We would not give him ultimate power to decide what would, and what would not, appear on line from the debate. I will let the reader decide why any opponent would demand such a power.
Finally, Aliel Hajj has offered a response to my post on Josh McDowell's "Sharia Love 2010" video. I did not see any response, however, to my primary concerns, specifically 1) what is sharia love, and how can any Christian use those terms congruently? 2) Is attempting to build relationships the same thing as actually proclaiming the gospel and dealing with Islam's inherent denials of Christian truth? 3) How can a Christian be proud of having "no conflicts" in a context that is fraught with the absolute necessity of conflict? Likewise, the brother does not seem to have read my article very well. He says, for example, that I never answered the question why some get along fine at the festival and others do not: my answer was that, in this instance in particular, Nabeel was actually dealing with the issues one must address to actually proclaim the gospel in that context. He was answering the actual objections Muslims offer. Having "let's get to know each other" sessions with folks may be fine and wonderful, but Muslims are not challenged by that kind of thing: they are challenged when someone says "Jesus is not merely a prophet, He is the divine Son of God, and you cannot remain neutral about His claims." And it seems that it is that direct, open proclamation of the gospel itself that is so objectionable that some would lie about what David and Nabeel were doing (which is getting harder and harder to do as more and more of the footage becomes available).
Then we have the assertion that I was assuming McDowell is naive because "he can be seen in a photo speaking with Nadir Ahmed." I did not say that, of course. I simply pointed out the fact that the repeated presence of Nadir Ahmed demonstrates that if you claim you had no conflict, then you were not saying anything relevant. Nadir Ahmed defines conflict, so, if you had none, you did not say anything to him that would challenge his beliefs. Hajj has missed the point completely.
The rest of this entry is a classic example of the clash of apologetic and evangelistic approaches. There is much I could say, but this brief entry is no longer brief at all.
One item briefly, though, that is troubling. Hajj says, "the title of their video 'Sharia in the US' is offensive to Dearborn's residents." Maybe it is, however, the title of McDowell's video, "Sharia love" should be offensive to all Christians, and especially to those who know the suffering of Christians under the rule of Sharia all around the world. Which his more important, I wonder?